Monday, November 25, 2013

hunting for ducks

Eliot Parulidae hunting for ducks at Cove Lake

To call it a pet peeve makes it seem light and trivial, like being upset that someone you love has left the cap off the toothpaste, again. 

My open contempt for fathers who turn their backs on their children, because it suits their own self-interest or it's inconvenient to be a father, has been documented here. Mentoring, influencing a young person's life IS our most sacred responsibility as an adult. Otherwise, we'd be no more evolved than crocodiles or cockroaches or cuttlefish.

Hunting for ducks at Eagle Bend
But when that eschewed young person turns out to be charming, quick-witted and brilliant, the offense baffles even more. The why? Becomes WHY? Sure there's the obstacle of overcoming the difficulties of having Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, in a world that can be insensitive to anyone a little different. But what else?

It is believed that Einstein, Van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Kafka, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Mozart and Sir Isaac Newton may have all had Asperger's and who wouldn't want to have known them? Even actress Daryl Hannah, and who wouldn't want to have lunch with her? Intellects like that have to be nurtured, protected and cherished, not kicked out on the street to fend for themselves.

Her charm and quick-wit, you have to experience for yourself. The brilliance is easy to document, although it's a descriptor she readily shuns—too much pressure. She's gone from being humbled by "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" to just being merely humble, so go ahead and add humility to her résumé.

Eliot Parulidae has just scored an overall 32 on her recent ACT with a 36 in English, and 36 is as high as you can score. She placed in the top one percentile in 6 out of 11 tested categories, pretty rarefied air. Her overall direction of high scores reflects her science bent, and future. 

"It's the highest score I've seen in 20 years," said her local doctor.

She scored at the top in algebra/geometry but trigonometry held her back a bit, but that's a branch of advanced math she is having to teach herself. Yet, numbers aside, she's also a natural born wordsmith.

Her doctor once told me, "She's always the smartest one in the room wherever she's at." 

In early October, the morning of the test, I picked her up and took her to Central High School. She didn't seem nervous, but rather determined to step up to the plate and hit it hard, multiple times, like Reggie Jackson in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, she had things to prove. She was in the zone.

"Be calm," I told her. "Enjoy yourself. You're going to do just fine." And I knew she would.

Raven t-shirt: $20, birding binoculars: $225, 
the respect of a young person: priceless
Eliot's 36 in English makes her a precisioned writer; the charm and wit gives her prose humor, finesse and swagger. She confidently weaves the strands of her essays like a seasoned pro.

And oh, did I mention that she is the creator of the online blog Okazaki Fragments, i.e. short, newly synthesized DNA fragments that are formed on the lagging template strand during DNA replication—I told you about her: surfoués. 

Here's the skinny: We all contain Okazaki Fragments both literally and metaphorically: the former you have to take my word on it, they're too small to see; the latter in that we all are made up of pieces and parts; talents, strengths, intelligences, abilities; it just takes us awhile for the fragments to link themselves together into a viable force. It is then we can comfortably say, "This is me, hear me roar."

Oh yes, Young Okasaki is also my birding partner. 

And sometimes we just go hunting for ducks.

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